I landed in Oʻahu, Hawaii on February second to start the more relaxing part of my trip. The next stop after Hawaii would be Japan where I already rented a coworking space for one month and planned to release Quazzel.it so I decided to take it easy for the next three weeks.
Oahu is the third largest of the eight Hawaiian islands and home to about two-thirds of the population. It is a tourism and shopping haven with over five million visitors every year and I didnt like that part so much. However it has a lot of beautiful spots to visit and I personally like the northern part of the Island a lot with its massive waves and famous surfing spots. There is only one large commercial hotel in the North Shore compared to hundreds on the Waikiki side. My hostel was in Waikiki and the upside was that it was spring break and I met a lot of cool people there and even convinced a friend to try to do the thing he loves for a living, n'est–ce pas Cyril ;)?
After one week in Oʻahu I took off to the big island which is the largest of the islands and far less populated than Oʻahu. It is built from five separate volcanoes three of which are still active. The lava flows and surfaces across the island are proof to that. There are two airports on the two different sides of the island, Kona in the west and Hilo in the east.
A friend of mine that I met in the hostel in Buenos Aires happened to be on the Hilo side at the same time, visiting her family and she invited me to stay with them for a couple of days.
I landed in Kona so they drove all the way from Hilo to get me from the airport since there is very little and far inbetween public transportation on the island and a taxi trip to the other side of the island would have costed around 300 dollars.
During the drive to Hilo we stopped at various places to have a closer look at the lava flows, shores and vast nature of the island. The Big Island has 4 out of the 5 major climate zones in the world, and 8 out of 13 of the sub-zones, so there is a lot of diversity in landscape and nature that ranges from tropical, desert to even tundra climate in some areas.
My friends place in Hilo where I stayed for the next three days was amazing. It is located in a very sparsely populated area of the island, at the bay where you can actually hear wales come by on their way from alaska.
There are not a lot of houses in the area and there is no phone reception or power grid. Many houses are powered by solar panels and supplied by rain water. I found it all really charming, in contrast to the constant noise and notification terror in bigger cities, and my friends hospitality and family made me feel at home. We went on hikes, visited the volcano, swam in the hot springs, played intense chess games ;) and even went out fishing one night.
After memorable three days I moved on to the Holo Holo In, a hostel located near the Hawaii Volcano National Park. It is a quiet, cozy place with a friendly staff, few guests and located more or less in the middle of nowhere. It is kind of hard to get around without a car so I had to hitchhike, for the first time in my life, to my next stop in Woodvalley.
I must say I dont really like hitchhiking. Standing there holding up a sign and trying to smile at every car passing by not knowing if anyone or who is gonna stop is not really worth it if you have other options. I didnt, so I took this route, and after 2 hours someone finally stopped and took me all the way to the Wood Valley Temple where I spent my next week.
I wanted to take some time off to reflect and relax before heading to the densely populated and highly industrialized Tokyo and the Wood Valley Temple was the perfect spot to do that.
Wood Valley Temple
As soon as I arrived in Wood Valley I felt the peaceful atmosphere with a blue peacock welcoming me at the doorsteps. The temple was established in 1973 and is run by small group of people around the managers Marya and Miguel. A senior monk, Tiapala, has lived with them since 1984. He leads daily morning and evening chanting, as well as a special meditation on Sunday mornings. Tiapala is usually the one who greets visitors at the temple door with a friendly Aloha.
I was often invited by the staff for lunch, helped with work around the temple, had good talks with the other guests and read a lot of books during my time there. It felt like I was becoming part of their little family and it made it hard to leave at the end of my stay.
I hitchhiked one last time, 80 miles from Wood Valley to the airport, and took off to stay one month in Tokyo, Japan where I am writing this post from. Stay tuned!
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